Article by Todd 14.09.15
Social media is many things to many people. It can be great for keeping in contact with friends and family, knowing the score for the latest football match, or hearing about favourite celebrity antics.
But social media can also help you grow your business –and you should be using it if you’re serious about your growth.
I’ve been using social media for over five years for business and now I spend all day using it to grow other people’s businesses!
Here Are My Top Six Ways To Grow Your Business With Social Media
1) Build Your ‘Tribe’
Let’s start by actually growing something. You may have heard of the phrase ‘social tribe’ before. What this means is that you can have a collection of fans and followers who are not only getting your messages and are aware of what you do, but they care.
They care enough to help you, stick with you, they care enough to stand up for you when you need them to – and they buy from you when they need to, as well.
To build a tribe you must first work on trust and you must also build authority. A blog is a fabulous way to do that. Blogging about what you do and how much you know helps others and they become grateful for the information and interested in you.
These people can become part of your tribe and will follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or wherever you share or send them.
This is powerful as these people will be indebted to you and your helpful content. Keep on sharing, keep on helping, and your tribe will grow and grow and you’ll have a large number of online fans online who will help you to get where you’re going.
Offer value – lots of it – and show you care by engaging with your tribe. It takes time, but by jove it’s a powerful tool when you need it!
2) Grow Your List
“You don’t have a business without a list.”
It’s been said a million times but some people still haven’t acted on this.
Your list; your email or contact list, IS your business. If you can’t communicate to people then how do you expect them to know what you’re up to, what you have on offer or when you can help with what’s needed?
Growing an email list with social media works like this:
• Have compelling content on your website, like a blog or white paper.
• Share insightful content and tips on social media and push people to your website content.
• When they’re reading your content, offer them something of value for free, like an eBook, CD, download – or anything that you can create once and give away that will help them in exchange for an email list.
• Then rinse and repeat. Get people on your list and then make sure you email them great content and keep them engaged until you need to sell to them or tell them something important.
3) Expand Your Awareness
Brand awareness sounds sexy and like it’s only for the big guys, but it’s not – and you need it. As a small business in Leamington, or indeed any town, you need to be known. You must build awareness so that people can buy from you when the time is right.
I recently bought a new mattress from Dreams. This is the second time in my life that I have bought a mattress and the second time I have bought from Dreams. I’m aware of them because they have many stores, many adverts and of course huge balloons flying at many of their flagship stores.
You don’t have a balloon budget? No problem – social media is free (to a point). Getting your business and brand on social media gets it into a position to be seen, be heard, and more importantly engage in local, national and international conversation.
The percentage of buyers whose purchases were influenced by social media is growing and at last count was 78%!
Be seen, be heard, be remembered – be social!
4) Grow Your Team
Social media can actually grow your business team as well as your sales and list.
We have around ten associates working for Spaghetti Agency who we met online. In fact, looking at it…everyone in Spaghetti Agency met online!
I met Jo on Twitter. Jo met Matt our designer on Twitter. We got Craig the IT chap on board after meeting him on Twitter. We met and hired Laura, our content and social media manager, through Twitter and Facebook, and our new social media assistant we got to know through Twitter, Facebook and email marketing. Our marketing strategist came via social media and came on our digital marketing workshop. Our business development team came through Twitter and LinkedIn and we found our SEO guy through Google thanks to strong social shares (tenuous but still through social).
Social media opens doors. It opens doors that you wouldn’t have opened and ones you might not have even knew existed.
If opportunity doesn’t knock today it might well tweet tomorrow.
5) Drive Your Conversations
Social media is all about conversation and if you’re selling instead of listening and responding then you’re missing the point… massively.
Hashtag hours like #LeamingtonHour are a great example of what social media is about and what it’s not about. Some businesses head there to chat and have conversations with other businesses. Some head there to spam anyone and everyone with links. #BuyMyStuff!
One of these approaches works well to build relationships and drive conversation. One of them falls of deaf ears. I’ll leave you to work out which is which.
Talk, and most importantly, listen, to other people and businesses to get your brand or business in the right conversations. Everything starts from a little conversation and you’ll be amazed what you’ll talk about after sharing the most simple things on social media.
6) Your Website Needs To Be Social To Grow
You spent time, money and effort on that website of yours and now it sits online, quietly waiting, wishing for people to come and visit.
You might already know that social media sends traffic to your business website but how does that help and how does it make your business grow?
Social signals (traffic and conversations about your website from social media) affect your ranking on search engines like Google. Google in particular are very keen to see activity on a website. Think about it: you Google a service and land on a site and it has everything you need… only to find out that the business is no longer around… it’s just that the website still has years left on its hosting.
Google doesn’t want this, and neither do you. So Google looks for signs of life and social media is a perfect signal that your business is alive and well.
The more of this that happens, the more likely it is that people will find you in the search results. It’ll take time,and of course you need a great blog there too to keep people coming back. You’ll need to think about WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) from your readers’ perspective. You also need a really clean, simple layout that your visitors can use to find everything they need.
But over time all this means one thing – more signals. Google will see this activity and it will take an interest in it. If people find it so useful then so will others and that means Google will want to share it more.
This then gets you higher up, with more chance of clicks. If you have a good social media sharing and connecting strategy on your website then it all helps to fuel the follows and shares even more.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and it’s all helped hugely by social media.
Social Media Is Growing Business – It Is Growing Yours?
Fact is: your competition are on social media. Whether they’re any good or not is not in your control. What is, is how good you are at it, how often you appear, how much value you give and what you do to follow up.
What you say, how you act, and the connections you make on social media, are powerful and they’re driving the growth of businesses like yours every minute of every day.
In Leamington there are some fantastic business and events totally driven by social media. Tweetups, awards, meetings, ventures and hashtags are developing – and you simply can’t ignore the potential in them.
Even this website, Grow Leamington, has happened because of social media. Gary spent time on social media and spotted a gap for this in the conversations and the businesses. Social media is opening doors and all you have to do is turn up and offer something useful.
It’s your choice if you grow it or not.
My name is Todd and I’m a social media manager and content creator at Spaghetti Agency.
Our business helps people grow their business with social media and online marketing. Tweet me at @SocialMediaTodd
I’d be happy to help.